Sunday, 29 July 2012

Launch of CQPhysio Group Spring Classic

I had originally planned to do a bit of a race review of the other Rocky Road Runners -  but RunBennyBoyRun sort of stole my thunder... thanks Ben!

Then sh!t got crazy. That was a month ago!

Jason and I started pulling everything together for the CQPhysio Group Spring Classic. When I say crazy I mean, really nuts. Working late most nights on the "back end" of the event, this includes building websites, registration platforms, singlet design, Risk Management plans, obtaining insurance etc etc. Plus we have our own training to do, which is fairly intense for me and about 20hrs a week for Jason. Plus we have our day jobs and I've also got my boys. Somewhere in there is sleep. No wonder we are both regularly threatened with divorce!!!

Last year HRE brought the big city race experience to Rocky and this year we wanted to build on the event to really ensure everyone leaves with great memories of a great race.

We had a ball delivering the race. It is actually more rewarding for me to see someone set a PB at OUR event than it is to run one yourself. My sister smashed her 5k PB, Big M ran a 10k PB and we had a lot of first timers at our event last year, I loved it. HRE introduced many new runners to "the family", it was very satisfying to see plenty of running virgins finish their maiden races.

So what is in store this year???

A pretty good question. We have added the Half Marathon and a kids 2k dash to the event. The Half Marathon will be perfect for a your first attempt at 21.1. There are no time cutoffs, so if you are unsure of how long you are going to take you need not worry, the course will be open as long as it takes for the last finisher to cross the line. There will be great aid stations carrying Endura and Honey Shotz - and of course a finishers medal for all Half Marathoners. Who stages a Half Marathon without a finishers medal! I believe the Half Marathon is the perfect distance for any recreational runner - it doesn't require crazy amounts of training and is still a massive achievement for any runner.

The kids dash will be great fun for the under 12s. I personally think it is very important to role model healthy behaviours for our kids, and provide safe and fun environments for them to do it. Both of my boys will be running - and it will be Joel's first race.

So with 4 events we really will have an event for everyone!
Seeing the CQPhysio Group Spring Classic singlets at every running event in Rocky this year has given me a big kick. The 2012 singlets are RED and we only have 200, so you better get in quick and register - they will sell out quickly.

The other huge news which I blogged about earlier is that JDRF are our official charity partner. We will be making a large contribution to JDRF on your behalf if you race with us at the CQPhysio Group Spring Classic.

September 16 is going to ROCK we will have a live band playing at the race precinct, Rocky's elite as our pace runners, muffins by Degani's and live race commentary. You will also be able to check your race time and place straight after you finish on your iPhone! How awesome is that!

Time to "pull the trigger" and register - come and sign up at


In racing news, Jason has finally cracked a win on the local cycling scene. It was really emotional yesterday watching him race the Rockhampton King of the Mountain (KOM) - and win "B" grade by over 90 seconds. He has been close to a victory lately, including a puncture late in the race last week BUT finally he was able to show us what he is made of.

Cycling is a hard sport to know where you at. In comparison to running, where you are VERY comparable to other athletes, cycling involves many types of races (crit, road race, hill race, time trial) it is often hard to know where you sit in the pecking order. Running offers a distance/time comparison which is very easy for everyone to know how good you are. I am a 3.45 marathoner, 43.55 10k - you could go out and run those distances tomorrow and know if you are a faster runner than I am.

Yesterdays race up Mt Archer is a real comparison though, no tactics, no slip streaming, just PURE effort. What is really great is that Jason's time gives everyone a chance to see if they are faster than he is. Is he REALLY that good, has quitting running been worth it? SO if you are sort of wondering how fit he is - go and ride from the Mt Archer sign at the base the top in 22 minutes 49 seconds. A word of warning, the last time I tried to ride it - I didn't even make the 2k point of the 4.9k summit!

Don't miss out on the CQPhysio Group Spring Classic news, come and like our HRE Facebook page


Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Lucky Number 7

“I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”  Michael Jordan.
So it has taken me 7 marathons to get to this point. I have flown to Melbourne, Canberra, Gold Coast and Brisbane chasing PBs. I have gone from a massive over-pronator, to barefoot runner and somewhere in between in 3 ½  years. On the 1st of July 2012 it happened, I finally feel that I have run somewhere near my potential. A point where I can look in the mirror, and be satisfied that the investment has been worth it.
In a quiet moment on the start line on Sunday morning I thought long and hard about my two distinct and race finish options. One is that I have “another” race where the wheels fall off and I write a painful soul searching race report, one where I ask myself a million questions and get zero answers. The other is that I climb into the race and seek out the pain and know that I am the most mentally tough runner there is on the course.
And so I did just that.

But before we get to Sunday’s race and all of its glory – I thought I would just take you back through the other 6 marathons. I have eluded to a number of marathon race failures, so here is the abbreviated version of what has happened over the past 3 years.
1.    Gold Coast Marathon 2009. Net Time 4.38.03. Splits 2.03.42 and 2.34.20.
First marathon on very little training. I ran a half marathon PB in this race (by 6 minutes) and went too hard too early. Payed for it terribly out the back end of the course, but loved every moment. As I ran back to the finish, seeing Bel and the boys and my mum I was very emotional, the love affair with the marathon was born. I was aiming for 4.30 so only 8 minutes off, I was pleased with the finish time.
2.    Gold Coast Marathon 2010. Net Time 5.16.40. Splits 1.55.31 and 3.21.09.
My first marathon where I have run injured. I had run a 1.42 half marathon at the river run 3 weeks earlier in Vibram Five Fingers and just after the race had injured the top of my foot. Top of Foot Pain (TOFP) was terrible – but I made the mistake of not returning to shoes and persevering with the Vibrams. I had taken a few pain killers at the start and thought that if I could get through 10km I should be OK. At 14km, before the turn around I was cramping badly, so bad I was reduced to a walk at about 21km. I walk ran the last half of the marathon. Reduced to suffering in unbearable pain in my left foot and cramps. Luke ran the last 10 with me, and watched as I suffered badly. My sister ran past me on her way to her marathon debut in a touch over 5hrs. It was a very weird feeling having her pass me at the 34km mark. Two panadene forte at the finish line knocked me out. I woke up at 7pm that night, with no recollection of how I got back to the motel from Jason’s. That was my last race in Vibrams, I needed shoes!
3.    Melbourne Marathon 2010. Net Time 4.17.20. Splits 1.54.45 and 2.22.25. Melbourne was so beautiful. The race started early and I ran with Mon’s coach Roger for the first 25km. We went through the half with 5 minutes in the bank for a sub 4hr marathon. This was my second serious attempt at going under 4hrs, this time I wasn’t going to be stupid and go too hard, so we ran comfortably for the first half. I needed a toilet stop and lost Roger in the crowd. Going back up Flinders St I hit the wall, and needed fuel, I hadn’t taken any gels on board for a while and ended up fading in the last 10. Coming into the MCG was a very special moment, you run a lap of the oval and it was very special. I knew I was going to run a PB so I was very excited! I felt great that I finished strong, but it was bitter sweet. Luke had busted his knee and hadn’t run, so it was tough seeing him sitting on the sidelines. Hayden came with me to Melbourne, it was the best father son trip you could wish for. PBs for me, and a big day at the Zoo the next day for him. Thanks Tiger Airways for $40 flights! I was shooting for sub 4 but was happy with the PB.
4.    Canberra Marathon 2011. Net Time 4.39.55. Splits 2.02.25 and 2.37.30. Another marathon with TOFP this time from trying to do too much in my Nike Free’s. This is my famous “fat marathon” – where I was tipping the scales at 80.5kg (I am around the 72.5-73kg now). I flew to Canberra with Michael and really just hoped to be in one piece at the end. The pain in my foot resulted in me changing my gait and in the end my left glute locked up, it felt like it was in my hip joint and resulted in me suffering quite badly at the end. I was cold and miserable – but resolved my fuelling issues. No crashing due to lack of fuel like I had in Melbourne. When I got back and Jason looked at my photos, the famous “loose some weight” line was said. So I began dropping weight before Gold Coast. I was realistically aiming for a 4.10-4.15 Marathon. Disappointed again. I stop wearing the Nike Free’s and went back to a real shoe, actually the opposite to Free’s. I ran in Jason’s Nike Vomero’s (Nike’s most plush shoe) and within a week my TOFP was gone. I bought a pair within 3 weeks and haven’t had a foot injury since.....
5.    Gold Coast Marathon 2011. Net Time 4.18.52. Splits 1.54.33 and 2.24.18.
My race was punctuated by another injury, this one I didnt see coming! ITB pain at the 25km mark and I thought my race was over. It eventually became a little looser, but I just couldn’t run hard on it. 12 months of training and I hadn’t even improved upon my Melbourne PB. I seriously needed a decent marathon to make this all worthwhile. Best moment was seeing Michael and Gav at the Grand after the race, they both had gone under 3hrs for the first time and it was very special seeing them both so ecstatic. I had another one of those awkward moments, where people tell you that you did a great time, but you know they are just being nice. All I had was another excuse why I hadn’t gone under 4hrs. Jason and Luke both snuck under 4hrs, I was so happy for them. My turn must be coming.....
6.    Brisbane Marathon 2011. Net Time 4.05.57. Splits 1.48.43 and 2.17.25.
Jason and I flew to Brisbane and just went crazy at the race. Jason ran with no watch and simply crushed it, running 3.36 – I was on track for sub 4, right up to the last 6 or so kms where I crashed and had nothing left. I was vomiting at km 39 and had “burnt” all of my matches. Finishing with my sister was special – when I finished I sat there sobbing like a 5 year old girl, I had given 100% and finally got close to the elusive 4hr mark. Was I ever going to get there? Maybe this is as fast as I will ever run....

Which gets us to Sunday, Lucky Number 7.

What does it feel like to have a decent race? I spent time visualising the course on Saturday, thinking about the feeling of running through the 37km turn around at the top end of the course (I have always been walking through there), coming down the finish chute – seeing the clock say 3.XX.
The start of the race felt very familiar, like meeting an old friend for coffee. Nothing felt new, or different quite the contrast to TNF where it was an overload to the senses. I hugged Greg and wished him luck for his marathon debut, climbed through the fence and found a spot to wait for the start.
As you know I had no watch. So it felt like  an eternity for Deek to get on the microphone and give his marathon speech. I shed a tear at the end of his speech he said, “do it for your yourself, do it for your family”.
This was my time.
The gun went, and it took a while to get to the start line, no watch meant that I just ran by feel. I started a fair way back off the 3.30 balloons, in between the 3.30 and then 3.45 balloons. As the race started, I got into a rhythm early – not pushing, just getting comfortable.
I made a decision early to wait for a couple of kms before trying to get onto the back of the 3.30 balloon, but the volume of people though made it a non event so I just stuck to a pace that felt hard but not crazy (like I have run in the past). I realised that there were 2 ladies running the same pace, they look comfortable and weren’t surging or doing anything stupid. So I just sat behind them all of the way down to the 15km turn around.
Within that 15km nothing exciting happened. I purposely left my ipod off, just tried to listen to my feet and my breathing. Both sounded great. Luke went past at about 8km, and Big M (Brenden) went past me I think at 10 or 11km.
As we got closer to the turn around, it was great to see the crew all coming back the other way. Paul, Pete, Michael, Benny, Gav, Jacob, Leah, Polly...each one of them gave me a little boost as they each went past.
Heading back towards the start finish, I had a little down period where I felt a bit off, it lasted from about 18km to 22km then all of a sudden I was feeling great again. I did notice that the weather was quite warm, much warmer than normal. As we went through Surfers Paradise I was cruising, feeling great. Up ahead I saw Big M – which was weird, I shouldn’t be catching him, I knew something must be wrong.
Within a km I was on his shoulder and slowed to have a chat. We ran for a while together, I was a little hyper at this stage, feeling awesome ready to tear the race up. Brenden said he burnt too many matches running 4.30s earlier, and was paying the price. I knew how he felt, and as my pace was starting to push again he told me to push on. So I did.
The sun was beginning to really beat down on me. What was weird was that I was able to actually plan the back section of the race, I knew it was hot, so I needed more fluids at the aid stations. My left calf was beginning to cramp so I grabbed some cups of Endura at the aid stations, I took a couple more Clif Shot Bloks and got ready for it to get hard.
I ran over the bridge at the 30km marker, this was the first time ever for me, I was starting to really heat up – so I made a very smart move. The next aid station – the really big long one that I knew was coming, I got to it. Grabbed two cups of endura, got those in, walked some more, and grabbed a total of 6 cups of water. 4 for my head and body and 2 to drink. I said to myself, you have 11km of hurt. Lets get this done.
I went through the 30km in 2.33 – and knew that I would finish with 3.40-3.45. I began to think very clearly. Right, it is hot and hard, so don’t spend too much energy until the 37km mark, then push if there is anything left.
Back at home, my 30km split come up on Jason’s screen. Jason was watching with his brother Troy. Troy said “Sean will find a way to f$%k this up, he always does” – Jason thought about it for a moment, the comment was raw but honest. Jason said back “not today – he has this”.
32km rolled around and Rodney was on the sideline, He jumped into the race to be my unofficial pacer. He knew the drill, I wanted to run 3.45. He asked how I felt, I said cooked, and my calf was beginning to cramp. We just pushed on, he was ½ a step in front always just trying to push the pace a little.
As we saw the "big three" go past it looked like Leah had dug the deepest she had a lead over Jacob and a fair lead on Polly. The look on her face was sheer determination. The boys looked like they were hanging on. Again as I went past them, I got a little surge in me and as we ran over the bridge into the roundabout towards the 37km turn around I spotted Luke.
He was maybe 3-4 minutes ahead of me. He said his ITB was playing up, which was always going to be a risk as it has been sore for month.
I hit the turn around and Rodney said PUSH HARD. So we did. I burnt up every single one of my last matches, the first 3.45 balloon came past at 40km and the second balloon went past at 40.80 – I surged past it trying to stay in front, but as I did my left calf cramped and locked at 41km. I stopped and stretched it on the gutter – then just bit my lip and tried to hang on for the last km.

Coming around the finish area was surreal. I knew I had run a huge PB and was close to 3.45...I just ran as hard as I possibly could in the last section. All I could think of was Joel and Hayden yelling “HULK SMASH” – I made a bit of a spectacle of myself and was yelling out “Come ON” – then I saw the clock it was slowly ticking over to 3.46.59, 3.47.00.....I raced jumped to touch the sign then collapsed as both my legs went into spasm.

7.    Gold Coast Marathon 2012. Net Time 3.45.37. Splits 1.44.35 and 2.01.02.
Boom. Personal Best by 20 minutes.
Looking at all of my splits I ran faster between 35-40km than what I did from 30-35km! Which is an excellent sign.
I learnt lots, but most importantly I realise that my recent race experiences have made me mentally very tough. I am more experienced now to problem solve on the run and just have the ability to tough it out. When the race got hard, I didn't go looking for excuses to quit like I have in the past....I just sucked it up enjoyed the hurt and went to the limit.

Rocky Road Runners race report next week.......

Enjoy your week off and your beers!